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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: APPLICATION OF BIOLOGICAL AND MOLECULAR TECHNIQUES TO THE DIAGNOSIS AND CONTROL OF AVIAN INFLUENZA AND OTHER EMERGING POULTRY PATHOGENS

Location: Exotic and Emerging Avian Viral Diseases Research Unit

Title: The high susceptibility of turkeys to influenza viruses of different origins implies their importance as potential intermediate host

Authors
item Pillai, Smitha P. -
item Pantin-Jackwood, Mary
item Yassine, H -
item Saif, Yehia -
item Lee, Chang-Won -

Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 20, 2009
Publication Date: January 15, 2010
Citation: Pillai, S.S., Pantin Jackwood, M.J., Yassine, H., Saif, Y.M., Lee, C. 2010. The high susceptibility of turkeys to influenza viruses of different origins implies their importance as potential intermediate host. Avian Diseases. 54:522-526.

Interpretive Summary: Avian influenza is a severe disease of poultry, including chickens and turkeys. Wild aquatic birds are the natural reservoirs of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses and previous reports and our studies have shown that these viruses are more easily transmitted to turkeys than chickens. Field data and experimental infection studies show that turkeys need less amount of LPAI viruses isolated from commercial poultry operations and live bird markets to get infected and are better hosts for these viruses than chickens. This highlights the importance of turkeys as bridging hosts for influenza infections from different sources to other land based poultry. Also, movement of swine influenza viruses to turkeys occurs frequently causing severe declines in egg productions in breeder turkeys. Turkeys can be easily infected with viruses of different origin and these viruses could possibly mix or evolve and give rise to new viruses that can infect other land-based poultry or even mammals.

Technical Abstract: Several previous reports and our studies show that waterfowl origin influenza virus can be more easily transmitted to domestic turkeys than chickens. Along with wild bird viruses, field data and experimental infection studies indicate turkeys to be better hosts for low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses isolated from commercial poultry operations and live bird markets in comparison to chickens. Low 50% infectious dose titers of wild bird as well as poultry adapted viruses for turkeys further suggest that they can be easily infected following a low dose exposure and underscores the importance of turkeys as bridging hosts for influenza infections from different sources to other land based poultry. In addition to influenza virus movement among different bird species, interspecies transmission of swine influenza viruses to turkeys occurs frequently and is often associated with drastic declines in egg productions in breeder turkeys. These findings strengthen the role of turkeys as suitable intermediate hosts that can be easily infected with viruses of different origins, and wherein these viruses can possibly reassort or evolve to give rise to new variants that can infect other land-based poultry or even mammals.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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